Maybe Chicago Cubs’ manager Dale Sveum wasn’t thinking clearly when he told the media over the weekend that he could send Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro to the minor leagues. “The bottom line is you have to perform,” Sveum told the Chicago Tribune. He continued, “Whether you need more development or you decide all those kinds of things…There’s still that accountability. Many, many people throughout the history of the game (have been demoted).”
While I’m sure the Cubs’ manager means well, trying to do anything he can to help his struggling team, sending his two top players to triple-A Iowa is not the solution. The young infielders have made mistakes on the field this year, but so have the rest of the Cubs. Why pick on the stars of your team when everyone is struggling?
To be fair, Rizzo is only hitting .191 right now which is way below what is expected of him. On the other hand, he has hit six home runs, the most of any other first baseman in the National League, during the first three weeks of the 2013 season. Rizzo is without a doubt a power hitter, and people think he should be demoted because he’s struggling defensively right now. No way! The kid is 23; give him a break! He’s going to make errors, but if they want to see his full potential, they need to be patient and let him learn from his mistakes.
What about Castro? Only three weeks into the season and the shortstop already has four errors under his belt, and those were four very costly errors that hurt the Cubs. But demoting him? He’s a two-time All-Star shortstop; there’s no way that would happen. Just like Rizzo, Castro is only 23 and is still learning how to be the best Major League ballplayer he can be.
As the season continues, we might as well accept the fact that these guys are going to screw up, possibly a lot, but demoting them for their mistakes isn’t the answer. Maybe the coaching staff needs to be a little harder on those who are demonstrating sloppy play. I certainly wouldn’t want to upset Sveum after he lost his voice from screaming at an umpire on Friday night.